Walsall Council has come under fire for wasting taxpayer money on a series of enormous green flowerpots which look rather like “something from Super Mario Brothers”. The 15 giant planters were apparently meant to “promote a feeling of wellbeing and safety” in the West Midlands town, but residents have been left fuming at what’s being described as an expensive and “garish eyesore”.
The flowerpots were purchased through a £750,000 central government grant which local residents say should have been concentrated on attracting businesses to the dilapidated town centre which is suffering from numerous store closures.
Local florist Andrea Loveridge, 39, told The Daily Mail: “They look like those warp pipes Mario jumps down. Against the backdrop of grey concrete and empty shops, they just look terrible – Why aren’t they spending money investing on trying to get businesses back into the town centre? This will just continue to put people off surely.”
Supermarket worker Sue Morrisson, 45, said: ‘They should be investing in trying to clean up the town centre and sorting out buildings which have been left to rot. They would look okay in a vibrant, modern town but in a dilapidated and tired looking town like Walsall, they just stand out like a sore thumb. We have recently lost Debenhams and M&S and I can’t see them running back to us anytime soon. Everyone is calling them Mario pipes, it makes us a bit of a laughing stock.”
Others were less critical of the Council, saying that they were at least trying to brighten the town centre up.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council and Portfolio holder for Regeneration, said: “Residents may be aware of the addition of some colourful planters in the town centre. This is part of a project funded by national government’s Accelerated Towns Funding.
“The work in Walsall Town Centre is intended to deliver a range of improvements to promote a feeling of wellbeing and safety and enhance the town centre environment. A key element of this work was to introduce more planting into the town centre to create a more social space outside the Walsall Art Gallery.”